Moderate alcohol use and depression in young adults: findings from a national longitudinal study

Am J Public Health. 2005 Mar;95(3):453-7. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2003.030700.


Objectives: We examined the association between moderate alcohol use and depressive mood among young adults before and after adjustment for demographic, health, and socioeconomic factors that may act as confounders.

Methods: We analyzed 2 waves of interview data collected from 13892 young adults who participated in the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health to compare frequency of depressive symptoms in moderate drinkers with frequency of symptoms in young adults in other alcohol use categories.

Results: With adjustment for health and socioeconomic factors, frequency of depressive symptoms were similar among moderate drinkers, lifetime and long-term abstainers, and heavy/heavier moderate drinkers but remained significantly higher among heavy drinkers.

Conclusions: Moderate alcohol use may have no effect on depression in young adults relative to abstinence from alcohol use.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Alcohol Drinking* / adverse effects
  • Alcohol Drinking* / epidemiology
  • Confounding Factors, Epidemiologic
  • Depression / complications
  • Depression / diagnosis
  • Depression / epidemiology*
  • Educational Status
  • Employment / statistics & numerical data
  • Epidemiologic Studies
  • Female
  • Health Services Needs and Demand
  • Health Status
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Linear Models
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Mental Health
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Population Surveillance
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • Public Assistance / statistics & numerical data
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Time Factors
  • United States / epidemiology